Thursday, April 06, 2006

China's SAIC Motor hires former GM designer

BEIJING (AFX) - SAIC Motor Corp Ltd, one of China's largest automakers, said it has appointed Wang Dazong, a former chief engineer and design manager at General Motors, as its vice president. Wang will be in charge of technical management and product development at the Chinese automaker, including establishing R&D capabilities for launching its own brand vehicles, said SAIC Motor in a statement. Yale Zhang, head of auto consultancy CSM Worldwide's China operations, told XFN-Asia that there is a growing trend among Chinese automakers to employ more and more overseas professionals to bring in production and management expertise. Zhang said that most Chinese firms, including Chery and Lifan, already have key R&D personnel who have worked for major international automakers. 'But it is hard to measure how much value these personnel can create for the Chinese automakers in developing their own cars,' Zhang added. SAIC Motor Corp Ltd said in February that it has set up a company -- SAIC Motor Manufacturing Co Ltd -- to produce automobiles of its own design with an investment of 3.68 bln yuan. The first model, which was designed based on the Rover 75, is scheduled to be released in the second half of the year. State media reported earlier this year that SAIC Motor may hire GM China's former president Phil Murtaugh to head SAIC Motor Manufacturing Co Ltd.


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